The UEFA Super Cup comes to Estonia on Wednesday, UEFA's HatTrick assistance programme having helped provide the country's capital Tallinn with the impressive Lilleküla Football Complex.
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Estonia proudly hosts its first major UEFA club competition event when Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid meet in the UEFA Super Cup in Tallinn on Wednesday – and UEFA's HatTrick assistance programme has made a crucial contribution.
Tallinn's impressive Lilleküla Stadium, opened in 2001, hosts the big match bringing together last season's UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League winners. The 15,000-capacity venue, the largest stadium in Estonia and home to the national team, is part of the larger Lilleküla Football Complex, purchased and nurtured with HatTrick funds.
The complex was purchased by the Estonian Football Association (EJL) in 2012. It includes the Liileküla outdoor stadium, which has a heating system; two full-size FIFA 2 Star quality artificial fields, one of them with heating; the Lilleküla Jalgpallihall, a full-size indoor hall, completed in 2013; and two full-size natural grass training fields.
The Lilleküla Jalgpallihall and its construction was a top priority for EJL owing to the harsh winter weather conditions in Estonia, as well as the scarcity of indoor football facilities. It has a full-size Saltex artificial pitch (100x64m), six dressing rooms and a stand with 511 seats.
In the last stage of constructing the complex, a grandstand compatible with UEFA regulations and with a capacity of 4,500 is being built for an artificial pitch with heating – providing another winter venue into the bargain.
Men's, women's and youth teams have all been able to benefit from the complex, providing enhanced facilities to play the game and aiding the further development of football in Estonia.
EJL president Aivar Pohlak underlined the importance of the Lilleküla complex and UEFA's HatTrick help. "Infrastructure is the basis on which football can be built," he said. "So it is not possible to overestimate the importance of the Lilleküla football complex.
"Of course, it is the home for the Estonian national team, but, last year, the complex was used by more than 40 different clubs – which gives a wider dimension to the role of the complex."